The Minnesota community celebrated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception with a community day in Delano. This is a small town of ~5,000 people about 45 west of the Twin Cities. Three of our local members, Tom, Ginny, and I, live in this western outskirt and the goal was to make it easier for people in Delano to “come and see” what the community is all about. We personally invited people we thought could have a call to the community to spend the whole day with us, while the whole parish was invited to an afternoon mission, which will be described later on. The hope is that enough people in Delano will be interested in the community that a local household can be formed.
The day was quite beautiful and full of memorable experiences. The morning followed our usual schedule of praise, a teaching with sharing, and Mass. Fr Andrew celebrated the Mass *ad orientem* and the two oldest Triplett boys served as altar servers. Meanwhile, the kids spent the morning making really cool ball ornaments. I don’t think any of them were broken by the end of the day! We gathered at noon for our potluck lunch, which is often a slow cooker affair.
After lunch we prepared for the mini-parish mission, which consisted of a Marian procession along the main street and a “Mercy Night” holy hour. Both activities were so beautiful and some parishioners came to participate in them. Andrew led the way during the procession by holding a framed print of Our Lady of Guadalupe, while Kevin led the group in the joyful mysteries of the rosary and singing before each decade. Many people watched and one onlooker even crossed the street to ask the group what we were doing and Andrew told him we were honoring Jesus’ mother, Mary.
When the group arrived back at the parish, we went into the church of the Mercy Hour. The lights were off except for the sanctuary and two candelabras pointed upward to the Eucharistic host in the monstrance.
People were invited to leave their prayer intentions in a basket and a lit candle in front of the altar, and to pick up a “Word of God” to take back with them. I played guitar while Jacqueline sang Emmanuel trust songs and gave words from Scripture. Kevin heard confessions in the back.
Lastly, when the mission was over, we gathering in the hall for refreshments and to say farewell to Liliane Mukaremera, our Rwandan sister. Her work visa is expiring so she will be leaving us to head to South Africa for work. While she isn’t out of the country yet, December might be her last community day so we had a party for her. Autumn drew a poster with triangle flags colored like the Rwandan flag and even managed to translate some phrases into Kinyarwanda, which were then applied to the “mouths” of bacteria and viruses (Liliane is a microbiologist). Liliane and I taught everyone how to dance like a Rwandan and then we played a few Kinyarwanda praise songs that are sung by the EC in Rwanda. We had a Rwandan dance party! Everyone joined in: the elders, the guests, the consecrated, the children, everyone. We have a video, but you’ll have to ask for that in person. There’s no need to embarrass all of us by posting a video of us dancing. We also took turns honoring Liliane for her witness as a Christian sister.
It was a wonderful day!